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Effects of CO2 and light on tree phytochemistry and insect performance

Publiceringsår: 2000
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 259-272
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Oikos
Volym: 88
Nummer: 2
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Wiley-Blackwell


Direct and interactive effects of CO2 and light on tree phytochemistry and insect fitness parameters were examined through experimental manipulations of plant growth conditions and performance of insect bioassays. Three species of deciduous trees (quaking aspen, Populus tremuloides: paper birch, Betula papyrifera; sugar maple, Acer saccharum) were grown under ambient (387 +/- 8 mu L/L) and elevated (696 +/- 2 mu L/L) levels of atmospheric CO2, with low and high light availability (375 and 855 mu mol x m(-2) x s(-1) at solar noon). Effects on the population and individual performance of a generalist phytophagous insect, the white-marked tussock moth (Orgyia leucostigma) were evaluated. Caterpillars were reared on experimental trees for the duration of the larval stage; and complementary short-term (fourth instar) Feeding trials were conducted with insects fed detached leaves. Phytochemical analyses demonstrated strong effects of both CO2 and light on all foliar nutritional variables (water. starch and nitrogen). For all species. enriched CO2 decreased water content and increased starch content, especially under high light conditions. High CO2 availability reduced levels of foliar nitrogen. but effects were species specific and most pronounced for high light aspen and birch. Analyses of secondary plant compounds revealed that levels of phenolic glycosides (salicortin and tremulacin) in aspen and condensed tannins in birch and maple were positively influenced by levels of both CO2 and light. In contrast, levels of condensed tannins in aspen were primarily affected by light, whereas levels of ellagitannins and gallotannins in maple responded to light and CO2, respectively. The lone-term bioassays showed strong treatment effects on survival, development time, and pupal mass. In general. CO2 effects were pronounced in high light and decreased along the gradient aspen > birch > maple. For larvae reared on high light aspen, enriched CO2 resulted in 62% fewer survivors. with increased development time, and reduced pupal mass. For maple-fed insects, elevated CO2 levels had negative effects on survival and pupal mass in low light. For birch, the only negative CO2 effects were observed in high light, where female larvae showed prolonged development. Fourth instar feeding trials demonstrated that low food conversion efficiency reduced insect performance. Elevated levels of CO2 significantly reduced total consumption, especially by insects on high light aspen and loa: light maple. This research demonstrates that effects of CO2 on phytochemistry and insect performance can be strongly light-dependent, and that plant responses to these two environmental variables differ among species. Overall, increased CO2 availability appeared to increase the defensive capacity of early-successional species primarily under high light conditions, and of late successional species under low light conditions. Due to the interactive effects of tree species, light, CO2, and herbivory, community composition of forests may change in the future.


  • Ecology


  • ISSN: 1600-0706

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